Adult locusts can fly up to 93 miles a day
An invasion by desert locusts has hit large parts of India and Pakistan while cases of coronavirus are on the rise in areas of both countries, invading more than two dozen districts in India, BBC News reported. Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat are the most impacted states. In Pakistan, a nationwide emergency was declared in February citing the locust numbers were the worst in more than two decades.
Locusts are a collection of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers that have a swarming phase, moving around and rapidly stripping fields of green vegetation and causing major crop damage. Farmers say they are fighting the “worst locust plague in nearly three decades” as acres of crops are being destroyed, sending food prices soaring. Swarms are stretching up to four miles long. Adult locusts can fly up to 93 miles a day, wreaking havoc where ever they go. An average small locust swarm can eat as much food as 35,000 people would in one day.
“The situation is much more serious this year not only in Afghanistan, India, Iran and Pakistan but in all the frontline countries in Africa, and the Arabian peninsula,” Muhammad Tariq Khan, director of Pakistan’s Department of Plant Protection, told the BBC.
“We are battling a major locust attack from across the border. This is the biggest invasion in nearly three decades. The swarms are very big and they have migrated from across the border after breeding a month earlier than we were expecting,” KL Gurjar, deputy director of India’s Locust Warning Organization, said.
According to CNN, state officials are using tractor-mounted sprayers and 20 fire engines across 11 districts to spray water and pesticides. They are also using drones to spray pesticides in two districts in Rajasthan.
Residents of Gurgaon, located just southwest of New Delhi, have been sharing pictures and videos on social media. “A swarm of locusts has reached Mahendragarh district and is expected to reach Rewari border. Under the circumstances, Gurugram administration has issued an advisory that people must keep their windows shut and make noise by clanging tin boxes, utensils and dhol so that locusts can’t settle at a place,” the administration said.
It added: “Farmers should keep spraying pumps ready. The agriculture department has also alerted its employees, who are making people aware of the precautions to be taken to prevent locust attacks in villages.”
I’d say 2020 can’t possibly get any worse, but we still have half the year left to prove me wrong.